Saturday, 26 October 2013

Galerie des Cerfs

The Galerie des Cerfs (Gallery of the Stags) was created during Henri IV and is decorated with a fascinating bird's eye view of the château and the surrounding hunting grounds. Genuine antlers are attached to the stag heads made from plaster (there are 43 of them). In 1960 another great attribute was added to this gallery: statues sent from the Vatican. These statues - including one made for Francis I - were cast at Fontainebleau and has now returned to their place of origin. The gallery measures 73 metres in length and 7 metres in width. It was here that a gentleman by the name of Giovanni, Marquis de Monaldeschi was murdered in 1657. Several of the royal châteaux are depicted on the walls.

One of the statues

Galerie de Diane

The Galerie de Diane (or Diane Gallery) is the longest room in Fontainebleau and was rebuilt during Napoleon I. Until then it had been decorated with references to the goddess Diana - the original decorations were carried out during Henri IV. Diana was the obvious choice because Fontainebleau was ideal for hunting and as the goddess of the hunt, the castle was considered to be Diana's domain. Louis-Philippe took advantage of the room's size and used it as a ball room. Ever since Napoleon III took over it has functioned as a library and as such is lined with bookcases - 16.000 books in total can be found in this room! Originally this was called the Queens Gallery because Henri IV had built it for his wife around 1600.
There is a large globe placed within the hall which was created for Napoleon I. The gallery measures 80 metres in length and 7 metres in width.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Queen's Courtyard

The Queen's Courtyard was created at the end of the 17th century by the architects Le Vau and d'Orbay. Originally the Queen's Courtyard stretched all the way down to where the present Dauphin's Courtyard ends but when the château was expanded in 1680 it created two courtyards instead of just one - this is how the Queen's Courtyard came to be located where it is today and also how the Dauphin's courtyard was created. That same year the Queen's Courtyard's façade was renovated.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Madame du Barry's Gambling Salon

This salon is sometimes mistaken as the Corner Lounge most likely because the rooms look very similar and are located right next to each other. It has the same white panels with the golden edges and boiserie. However, the fireplace is different (a deep red marble) and instead of a bust of Louis XV - which can be found in the Corner Lounge - there is a bust of Madame du Barry in quite a peculiar colour. Between the deep window sills there are two cabinets each with a large, white vase - they must have been a pair since they match each other completely. A rather large couch with cream, gold and rose-coloured silk also matches the chairs placed up against the wall.

"Is it a revolt?"

"No, Sire. It is a revolution!"
"She [Marie Antoinette] has so much grace that she does everything perfectly."
"How fortunate we are, given our rank, to have gained the love of a whole people with such ease."
(when she first visited Paris) 
"My God, how happy I am!"
(on the birth of her son) 

Fleury Staircase

This staircase is very simple in its design which suggests that it might have been used as a private staircase. The walls are completely white and the floor is tiled with black/white diamond-shaped tiles.

Ground floor - Central Wing - Staircase - Staircase 57d Fleury

The Chimay Staircase

Originally this was the location of several "closets" (small rooms) of Madame de Maintenon but they were demolished in 1830 by Louis-Philippe and this staircase was placed in their stead. It was created to link the South Wing with the Central Wing - it is named after the Princes of Chimay. The staircase begins near the Queen's apartments and leads up to the attic. Most people familiar to the design used at Versailles would immediately identify the monogram "MA" as that of Marie Antoinette but in this case it is not hers but that of Marie Amélie which has been crowned by two cupids.

Premier étage - Aile centrale - Escaliers - Escalier attique Chimay

Premier étage - Aile centrale - Escaliers - Escalier attique Chimay

Premier étage - Aile centrale - Escaliers - Escalier attique Chimay

Premier étage - Aile centrale - Escaliers - Escalier attique Chimay

Salon of Buffets

Slightly larger than the boudoir, the Salon of Buffets (Salle des Buffets) has recently been restored and during this process it has also been covered in the same tapestry as the previous rooms - mind that some of the photos shows bare wall but that prior to the restoration. The room has most likely received its name due to the large number of porcelain figures and exquisite plates and cups exhibited in this room.

Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are represented in this salon. A portrait depicting Louis XVI giving alms to a poor family living near Versailles hangs in this room - supposedly it is based on an actual visit made by Louis XVI in February 1784. A drawing of Marie Antoinette as Dauphine (from 1772) also adorns the walls. Both are likewise portrayed on two white busts on the mantelpiece. A large cabinet is filled with white porcelain figures such as the busts of the royal couple. But in the middle there is a little coloured Sèvres-cup; it is painted with a fresh turquoise and is decorated with golden garlands, pink roses and a dolphin which was the symbol of the Dauphin - perhaps it belonged to Louis XVI?

Another cabinet proudly shows off a tea set in chinoiserie style bought by Louis XVI in 1774 - the artists' signature is still visible. The set consists of a tea pot, 2 cups, 1 milk jug, 1 sugar bowl, 2 matching saucers and a large tray for it all. Another set of this style once owned by Madame Adélaïde (Louis XVI's aunt) as well as a Sèvre set of the Duchesse d'Artois is also to be found in this cabinet.
Strangely enough, a portrait of Louis XVI's nephew, Louis-Antoine d'Artois (Duc d'Angoulême), is also exhibited in this room.

Notice that there is no tapestry yet

Friday, 18 October 2013

Louis XV once remarked to the Duc de Noailles that he had found "new pleasures" with Madame du Barry to which the Duc replied:

"Sire, that is because you have never been to a brothel."

"Madame, I am delighted that the first favour you should ask of me should be one of mercy!"
(to Madame du Barry)
"If there must be a mistress, better her than any other"
(about Madame de Pompadour)


Next to the dining room is a small boudoir which has also been covered in the same tapestry as the dinning room and the corridor. Three large portraits dominates the room; they are of Archduke Maximilian (brother of Marie Antoinette), Maria-Beatrice d'Este (sister-in-law of Marie Antoinette) and Archduke Ferdinand (another brother of Marie Antoinette). A large vermilion screen covers the window and protects the delicate wooden chest - I believe that it was Marie Antoinette's travelling chest despite the rather rough appearance.

Dining Room

The Queen's second floor dining room is far more intimate and personal than the great royal dining halls on the first floor. The large glass cabinets contains exquisite porcelain service that once belonged to Marie Antoinette. To further make the connection between Marie Antoinette and this room clear there are portraits of several of her family members on the wall including her father (Francis I), her notorious mother (Maria Theresia) and her brother (Joseph II). The fireplace was originally located on the first floor but was moved to this room as a part of the restoration.

On the mantelpiece there are three porcelain figures with a special feature: the are all depicting Marie Antoinette in three different situations. One is with her children, another is with her hairdresser Léonard and the last is with her personal staff. I actually think that the figurines comes pretty close to what the portraits and sculptures tells us of her looks.

Juli 2010

File:Chateau Versailles petit appartement Reine salle a manger.jpg

Juli 2010

Juli 2010
"The Nurse" from 1774
Juli 2010
"The Toilette" (my favourite of the three) from 1775
Juli 2010
"The Lunch" from 1775

Private Corridor

This small corridor links the Billiard Parlour and the Dining Room. The walls are covered with the same tapestry as the Dining Room. A single lantern - in the style of Petit Trianon - hangs from the ceiling.

Juli 2010 -- © 2010 by J.S.

Second floor - Central Wing - Apartment Queen - 7 Corridor linking
close-up of the tapestry

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Francois Adhémar de Monteil, Comte de Grignan

François Adhémar de Monteil was born in 1632 and was so fortunate to be the eldest son in a family of no less than eleven children - his parents were Louis Gaucher de Grignan and Marguerite d'Ornano. This meant that upon his father's death in 1668 he became the Comte de Grignan. Before he assumed the fine title François did what many other young aristocratic men did and began a career in the military. During his time in the military he served in the Household Cavalry of Queen Anne of Austria where he held the title of Captain-Lieutenant.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Billiard Parlour

The Queen had her own private billiard parlour on the second floor. Georges Jacob designed the beautiful silk lined chairs in 1785. There is also a piece of furniture with a special link to Marie Antoinette: a jewellery casket. The beautiful little casket is made up of rosewood and is decorated with gold, bronze and 13 pretty porcelain plates from Sèvres - all with floral motifs. Each porcelain plate is edged with two lines: one in green and one in gold. It is the work of Martin Carlin and must have been one of the very first pieces of French furniture that Marie Antoinette received as Dauphine since it dates back to 1770.

The room is decorated with large silk and chenille tapestries which were commissioned for Marie Antoinette in the winter of 1779 for her interior cabinet. They were later modified in Lyon for this particular room. There are six different floral medallions woven on the white tapestries which forms a damask pattern. A plaque has been placed in this room which depicts Marie Antoinette's profile and describes her title as Dauphine of France and Archduchess of Austria.

Juli 2010

Juli 2010

Juli 2010

File:Coffre à bijoux Marie Antoinette Dauphine Martin Carlin V5807.jpg
Marie Antoinette's jewellery casket

Juli 2010

Juli 2010

Monday, 14 October 2013

How Much Do You Know?

Take a quiz about any of these court characters at Versailles and find out how much you truly know about your favourite characters! These quizzes are all by me, so I hope you enjoy them.

Madame du Barry

Louis XIV

Louis XV

Marie Leszczynska

Monday, 7 October 2013

When Madame Élisabeth was commanded to swear loyalty to the new rule and hatred towards the royal family this was her response:

"To the first I willing submit. To the second, how can I accede? There is nothing of which I can accuse the Royal family. To hate them is against my nature. They are my Sovereigns. They are my friends and relations. I have served them for many years, and never have I found reason for the slightest complaint!"
"He [Louis XIV] does not love me. Be he thinks he owes it to his subjects and to his own greatness to have the most beautiful woman in his kingdom as his mistress."

The King's Razor

razor used by Louis XVI in the Temple Prison
Louis XVI used this razor while he was imprisoned at the Temple Prison. You can just spot the name "M. Clery" on the blade's side and Clery happened to be the King's valet who continued to loyally serve his King. Also the number "4" is engraved on the blade though it is not visible on this photo. In 1993 the relic went on display at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris. The sheathe is made of black leather edged with gold.

Tragic Footsteps

These beautiful 18th century ladies shoes is labelled to have belonged to none other than Marie Antoinette herself. It were this pair that the Queen wore when the royal family was taken to Paris by an angry mob - she would probably have received them at Versailles but she would never return. The shoes are currently stored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art but are not exhibited to the public eye.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

"Sire, when Kings involve themselves with the works of the people, the people involve themselves in the works of a King!"
FRANÇOIS GAMAIN TO LOUIS XVI (Gamain was the royal locksmith)  
"During that first moment the court was worse than a desert; people left by night under borrowed names."
COMTESSE D'ADHÉMAR (after the storming of the Bastille) 
"I was a Queen and you took away my crown; a wife and you killed my husband; a mother and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains, take it but do not make me suffer long."
"To make a fortune at court, one must be very well-behaved or completely mad, very modest or very insolent; the first merit everything while gambling nothing. The others manage to pick up something while gambling everything."
"Nothing bores and tires me as much as this artificial activity, this idle occupation, this importance given to the puerile things which make up the life of a courtesan."
COMTESSE DE BOIGNE (about the etiquette at Versailles) 
"Ah, if I were not King, I should lose my temper"
"When he must threaten, he has lightening in his hands. Every King, without elevating himself above humans, can against criminals throw thunder; but when he makes people happy, he is god on earth."